While the main focus of this program is to get folks out across Canada, enjoying the outdoors and spotting their favourite birds, Project NestWatch relies on their volunteers for vital data. As its name suggests, Project NestWatch is a volunteer program that is actively involved in collecting data about nesting birds across the country.
In addition to collecting data on nesting sites, the data is then used to effectively monitor bird populations and the overall health of each species recorded. Data such as clutch size, nesting success, and predation rates are all taken into consideration and related to any long-term modifications to their habitat or the climate in the region.
This program is open to anyone willing to volunteer their time and record their findings in conjunction with Bird Studies Canada.
Barn Swallow NestWatchers
There is also a great need for researchers to assist in the conservation and data collection for particular species, like the Barn Swallow. As we have seen their populations in Canada decline by almost 30% between 1999 and 2009, Barn Swallows are now considered a threatened species here in Ontario and have been recommended to be protected by Canada’s Species at Risk Act.
With the data researchers have at present, it is difficult for them to assess the reasons behind the rapid decline of this species. Researchers are trying to narrow down the specific threat that is harming this species and believe some potential reasons are the changes in the availability of flying insects for food, loss of nesting habitat, competition from other species such that the House Sparrow and a reduction in nesting success due in part to high levels of ectoparasites.
So far this year the program has identified over 520 nests from 74 different species across Canada. To take part, visit the NestWatchers website here and take part in the conservation and research of all bird species and their livelihood across the country.